What is a Pivoting Skylight?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Pivoting skylights are a form of skylight that can be slightly repositioned to allow for maximum usage of available sunlight. The basic design of a pivot skylight allows for the adjustment of the angle of the pivot so that it is possible to direct the desired amount of light into the space. Skylights of this type have been around for many years, and have been used in both homes and places of business.

Part of the function of the pivoting skylight is to position the angle of the skylight to make the best use of sunshine during the course of the day. The earliest versions of the pivoting skylight made use of chain pulls and levers or cranks to make the adjustment of the skylight relatively easy. It is possible to adjust the angle or pivot of the skylights as the position of direct sunlight changed during the course of the day. Depending on the desires of the occupants, the pivoting skylight could be adjusted to allow the maximum amount of light into the home, or effectively balance the light to a desired level.


In terms of construction, a pivoting skylight may be composed of multiple panes that are connected by a skeleton made from metal strips, or involve two to three large panes within a metal frame. Generally, skylights of this type make use of tempered glass that is highly resistant to damage. While glass is still the preferred medium for most skylights, there are models today that make use of highly resistant fiberglass as well.

Along with the use of pulleys, chains, and hand cranks, modern pivoting skylights also are available in motorized versions. Many of the designs available today allow for adjusting the angle of the skylight with a touch of a button. Other designs allow the owner to program movements into the operating system, effectively accomplishing the pivot action in increments throughout the day.

Pivoting skylights are often popular for use in loft apartments and similar dwellings that have been installed in older industrial buildings. There are also examples of modern warehouses that make use of a pivoting skylight system as one means of conserving energy. Relatively easy to install and maintain, the pivoting skylight is one design element that is likely to remain popular for many years to come.


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